Raquel is the creator/facilitator of arts programs for youths and adults in private institutions, public schools, residences with organizations, University workshops and prisons. Her work with children, teens, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women within the performing/writing disciplines has lead her to sharing the arts with thousands of participants.
“As an arts facilitator to children, teens and incarcerated women, I was moved and inspired to create work about women, their history and a voice for their futures. My art programs promote personal growth, develops life skills through art-making and self- expression. How art can serve as a tool for social change, a methodology of building theatre that opens hearts and minds to propel action.”
Panels, Conferences, Presentations and Activist Projects– HERE
Columbia University’s High School International Theatre Collaboration Summer Program. Six consecutive years: Teaching Assistant to Dyana Kimball in training for devised works in writing, performance and direction Lead Butoh dance physical techniques to internationally selected high school participants. Facilitator to writing students through a workshop forum, where they mounted short plays within collaboration, culminating in two public performances. Co- directed several short plays, providing feedback and guidance in works in progress showings to collaboration groups.
New York University – Guest Lecturer – undergraduate level facilitation in the Education Department for the course American Dilemmas: Race, Inequality and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Public Education. Workshop and lecture on power structure within sectors of social inequality. Devised theatrical narratives in transformation of oppression and dialogue towards creative solutions.
Pace University B.F.A. Theatre Program- Guest Lecturer – lead students in physical performance training within the Suzuki and Butoh Dance technique.
The New School – Guest Lecturer for Caits Meissner’s course on community arts based programming. Provided feedback and guidance on works in progress to undergraduate student’s projects. Guest Lecturer for Liza Jessie Peterson, Intro to playwriting, provided feedback on synopsis beginnings of new plays for undergraduate students.
Bridgewater State University – Guest Lecturer – undergraduate level facilitation. Lecture performance of excerpts from Almazan’s Latin is America Play Cycle- CAFÉ, La Paloma Prisoner and La Negra at Bridgewater State University addressing the topics of race, gender, sexuality, globalization and indigenous rights. Facilitated workshops with Latin American studies and theatre students on creating work from personal and political narratives, including social inequality. Funded by Diversity Grant with the Latin American & Caribbean studies, Women’s and Gender Study, Theatre and Social Justice Departments.
BMCC – Almazan performs excerpts from CAFE and LA NEGRA, part of her “Latin is America” play cycle, followed by a Q & A with the students: Borough of Manhattan Community College for Women’s History Month.
Union College – Almazan performs excerpts of Latin is America – a lecture performance from her Latin is America play cycle. Lecture and Q & A on the overview of her theatre career and it’s relationship to Latinx activism.
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) – BAM Education connects learning with creativity, engaging imagination by encouraging self-expression through in- and after-school programs for students and teachers; school-break workshops; and offerings for audiences of all ages. Facilitation for several pre- show theatre and pre-screening workshops at BAM, including social justice themed documentaries. Group collaboration on creating original pedagogy for workshops.
Manhattan Theatre Club – Guest artist for playwriting facilitation and performance in plays written by NYC Public School Students, final performance of selected plays at City Stage off Broadway. Co- facilitation for writing/performance workshops of plays written by male students at Rikers Island Prison and Horizons Juvenile Detention Center. Co facilitated parent/child workshop for MTC’s The Columnist and The Assembled Parties, guest performer for Saint Joan workshop.
Rising Cirlce Theatre Collective– INKtank Playwrights 12 week Lab Facilitator, four consecutive years: to provide feedback, guidance towards re-writes and staged readings of four playwrights of color in New York City.
Epic Theatre – mission is to create bold work with and for diverse communities that promotes vital discourse and social change. Guest playwriting instructor– devised original exercises based on Joseph Campbell’s – The Hero’s Journey, leading students into original character, dialogue and scene development. Also worked with a Bronx high school student body that spoke diverse languages and aided them in writing immigrant journey stories. As well as serving as a guest actor for final readings of political issue plays by Harlem youth.
Repertorio Espanol– has committed its resources to making theatre accessible and part of the classroom experience with the aim of instilling cultural pride, promoting self-awareness, and divulging the riches of Spanish-language theatre. Guided students in writing original plays addressing the administration, immigration and gender violence, culture, loss and racism, directed final performance at Repertorio Theatre. Directed Romeo and Juliet scenes at Mathers HS. Instructed play adaptations of classic Spanish literature – short stories and social justice superhero scenes to Spanish speaking HS students.
Dream Yard- programs develop artistic voice, nurture young peoples’ desire to make change and cultivate the skills necessary to reach positive goals. We believe that young people in the Bronx need a continuous set of supports to help them towards positive outcomes as they navigate their educational pathway, youth develop the necessary tools to become creative and engaged citizens, life-long learners and the leaders and innovators of the 21st century. *Bronx International High School
Facilitator of physical theatre ritual sessions for ensemble building, influenced by Butoh Dance for Pangea World Theatre Ensemble and community participants. National Performance Network contract residency Minneapolis.
Art + Action Intensive: Addressing Mass Incarceration through the Arts with Gibney Dance. Co-facilitated workshop. take participants through the process of a month-long pilot residency, Living Story Lab, that was facilitated with incarcerated young people at Rikers Correctional.The pedagogy and structure of that pilot program was developed in response to the needs of the youth, using their cultural rituals as an entry point, in order to create new ways of offering sacred space in challenging environments. We explored narrative – storytelling within a multidisciplinary process, using visual art, theatre of the oppressed power dynamics, writing, drumming and dance. The program arch used a core praxis of Life-mapping – Past, Present and Future – as a tool for reflection, envisioning and choice-making for the future of each participant while building community.
Harvard Dance Center. Co-facilitated with Ana Candida Carneiro, an exploration of intersecting Butoh dance and writing, and addresses themes of transcultural dialogue. This workshops creates the relationship of an ensemble to respond with movement and sound, and expands that collaboration as a springboard for solo text or group theatrical text, based on Butoh Dance techniques and provides a holistic relationship with the body, leading to breaking down boundaries in the theatrical space. It interweaves writing prompts, moments of movement and exchange sequences. Developing the writing materials that emerged into concrete dramaturgical proposals. Utilizing the imagination of a map on the floor and the metaphors of travel and migration, we will create a synergy where the participants will interact in a non-traditional way to create the unexpected.
Facilitator for Theatre of the Oppressed, forum theatre troupe residency at The Aids Center of Queens County with immigrant participants, four years. Additional troupes also include Atlas, DIY, Sunset Park, Red Hook Community Justice Center and Crossroads Detention Center. Presentations include Legislative Theatre at Queens Museum with ACQC troupe. Master class on Legislative Theatre co-facilitated with Katy Rubin for the Theatre of the Oppressed NYC 3rd annual Legislative Theatre Festival, The New School. Intensive intro workshop with Gibnery Dance, The Queens Community House, National Immigrant Integration Conference, Washington DC Community, The Wexner Foundation, Manhattan Bridges High School and The Cooperative Development Program in Sunset Park with Latina leaders. Facilitator for an intensive workshop with Safe Horizon’s human trafficking survivors leadership group, culminating in an original forum play that the group will perform at advocacy events. Facilitator for the Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab, training 60 New York City arts and cultural organizations to deepen their racial equity work for the organization Race Forward in forum theatre techniques.
Teaching Artist and coordinator for Language in Play Program, directed by Tony Plana. Five month residency at MS 442 Middle School, Brooklyn. Students learn a variety of theatre techniques, including Boal and Spolin exercises to perform/ write original work to culminate in a final presentation. NYC
People’s Theatre Project– People’s Theatre Project, a nonprofit arts and social justice organization, unites members of under-represented communities to raise awareness of their shared struggles through the personally and socially transformative process of collaborative theatre making. In both community and school-based settings, all People’s Theatre Project programs for children and youth follow the organization’s unique curriculum that engages the actors in a variety of theatre making projects inspired by social themes and culminates in a theatrical collage performed for the community. Concentration on racial injustice through the restorative justice approach of facilitating. High school and middle school students. NYC
Urban Art Beat – Co- Program content creator and Facilitator for Living Story Lab pilot program, art sessions on Rikers Island Correctional Facility offered to male youth. Narrative – storytelling is explored and expressed within a multidisciplinary process, using music, visual art, theatre, lyric writing, drumming and dance. Arch of the program used Past, Present and Future – as a tool for reflection and steps for a vision for the future for each participant; to create lasting, organic experiences in the space with youth.
Aquinas Catholic School and Convent, Bronx, NYC. Directed the full production of Sister Act: The Musical and Dream Girls: The Musical with an all female high school cast of Dominican, African American and Caribbean descent student body.
Co- Creator with Mei Ann Teo of First Do No Harm, partnered with H.E.A.L.T.H. for youths organization and Whole Foods NYC.
FIRST DO NO HARM is a free workshop for under-served youth that employs a communal theatre practice towards a holistic fusion of mental, physical and spiritual awareness. We begin by forming a daily practice through meditation and yoga and examine how we feed our bodies through nutritional education by visiting community gardens and shared daily lunches made together. From this place of physical and mental clarity, we explore the unlocked potential of our personal and social histories through performance, storytelling and writing. Through creating a piece together that explores the inherited assumptions of how we live, we hope that communally, we can push past limitations and create sustainability in new healthy habits. Culminating performance August 2013 in the site specific Riley-Levin Children’s Garden. 2 week workshop NYC.
Iati Theatre – Tracing the Immigrant experience: Devising original narratives and physical tableaus of migration and identity with the PTA – mothers of Sunset Park elementary school. NYC
John Robert Powers Acting Academy. Training Director and Instructor. Instructed and managed a staff of teachers in diverse training in Manhattan and the NYC branch of !IPOP! The International Presentation of Performers. Developed hundreds of kids, teens and young adult for the professional acting industry with top NYC / Los Angeles agents, casting directors and managers. Students she has coached have been featured in major motion pictures, Broadway/ off Broadway theatres, and national television programs and commercials. Arranged promotional photo shoots and marketing layouts, printing.
Classes taught include: Film Study, Intro to commercials, scene-study, soap-sitcom, monologue, Improvisation, Audition Technique, Life skills, The Business of Acting and performing in self-written work.
Crossing Thresholds Artist Training Retreat. Theater/ Performance/ Creativity Retreat/ Training on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Forging ancient ritual to the forefront of modern theatre – A theatrical retreat for artist (presented by Teo Castellanos, Tarell Mc Craney and Raquel Almazan) Participants trained/created, using exercises influenced by Zen, Michael Chekhov, Butoh Dance, and Viewpoints. Discipline and ritual plays a part in the training and creative process, from stillness of meditation to the chaos of free movement, mythology, archetypes, imagination, and creative expression. The group created a daily practice of yoga, physical dance, writing and original ensemble work. This retreat also included immersion in Guatemalan culture, hike retreats and site specific performances.
Teaching Artist for Future Stage, Fidelity Investments Program with LEAP Learning Through the Expanded Arts Organization New York City. Six month long residency as a Teaching Artist to high school students who learned theatre techniques to perform and write autobiographical work. Students wrote ten minute plays, participated in a detailed rehearsal process that Almazan directed, towards a professional presentation. Selection process to perform Broadway/ off-Broadway and selected plays published through Samuel French. Workshops with celebrity theatre artists, sessions with seasoned dramaturgs, attending Broadway shows and panels with high profile playwrights was also integrated into the process of what students experienced.
*Originated several exercises and techniques for curriculum programming.
*Program was featured in The New York Times, Back Stage and the New York Post.
Co- Creator of New Rites Collective Arts Program. Lead facilitator of the arts program with the Off Broadway Company Theatre East.
The New Rites Collective is a summer residency program whose focus is for at risk youth to gain exposure to visual and performing arts through an innovative blueprint for social and cultural change. The first annual program was held at Innovation Diploma High School in New York City during the summer of 2010 and incorporated writing, visual arts, new media, and performance based workshops along with mentoring, counseling and design/production opportunities. This course provided youth an opportunity to use the power of the arts to connect notions of their own “self” to the world and foster social and cultural change. Culminated in a final multi-interdisciplinary performance.
*Curated curriculum that included an introduction to Butoh Dance, Shakespeare and Theatre of the Oppressed workshops.
Performer/facilitator with Educational Play Productions, a company dedicated to dealing with the social issues of children and teens. Plays a variety or roles in repertory in over 25 NYC Public Schools with this company founded by Carmen Rivera and Candido Tirado award winning Puerto Rican playwrights. Facilitated post-show debriefs with large audiences of students and faculty.
Conflict/Resolution Workshop. Brooklyn Arts Council. Integrating original performances with youths through community arts. In this workshop artists/students learn the creative and developmental process of solo/group work based on, oral histories and autobiographical material within the themes of personal and social conflict-resolution. As a means for exploring their participation in society as students, sons/daughters, and future leaders. Voice and body technique-building a series of vocal/physical exercises for training/performance. Exposure to these performances- new material and techniques will provide a common basis for the study and discussion of finding different approaches to conflict.
Wingspan Arts NYC– Teatro en Espanol. Teacher to elementary students. Through games and role-playing, kids dive into the world of the Spanish language. With dance, art, and theatre, kids learn voice and movement techniques of acting that develop into a final presentation. Improv, scene work, group collaborations and solo performance are explored in the Spanish language. Students use their creativity to put together original material they build on with the new Spanish words they learn every course.
Art Spring Organization: theatre arts facilitator to incarcerated women – beginners and advanced, an arts based organization that serves underserved and institutionalized women and girls with programs designed to promote personal growth and develop life skills through art-making and self- expression. Since 1994, Art Spring has been responding to the needs of adult female inmates and adjudicated girls through it’s two principal programs: Inside Out and Breaking Free. These interdisciplinary arts programs incorporate movement, theatre games, writing, drawing, story-telling and performance as transformational tools.